The Federal Government has condemned the conspiracy theories that have trailed Boko Harams abduction of 110 schoolgirls in Dapchi, Yobe, and likened it to the public reaction towards the infamous 9/11 attacks in the United States of America.
While speaking to Daily Trust on Wednesday, March 22, 2018, President Muhammadu Buhari's Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said the allegations made by the opposition People's Democratic Party (PDP) that the president stage-managed the abduction to curry public favour is ridiculous.
However, he said it is unsurprising as the same thing happened in America when then-president, George W. Bush, was accused of orchestrating the September 11, 2001 attacks that killed 2,977 victims.
Shehu said the opposition party is resorting to dishonest tactics simply because they planned to politicise the abduction to worm their way back to power, but that the plan has been jeopardised with the return of 104 out of the 110 girls kidnapped by the terrorists.
He said, "The thing is that it is inconceivable that any leader with conscience will orchestrate this against its own people. But again this shouldn't surprise us because we have seen it happening in America.
"When the Twin Towers were bombed, conspiracy theorists said that President Bush bombed the Twin Towers which killed 3,000 people in order to undermine Islam or to create justification for the war against Iraq.
"So it is not surprising that conspiracy theorists would look at President Buhari and say that he orchestrated this. This did not happen. It is not true and it cannot happen. I think what is happening is that our political opponents especially PDP has been very reckless on matters of national security.
"They thought the Dapchi girls would give them an easy pass to power and that President Buhari can be equated morally and politically to their rotten government. Now they have lost a plot. They have to go and look for how to win power.
"How can they beat Buhari in infrastructure? How can they beat Buhari in the fight against corruption? How can they beat Buhari in securing this country and beating back Boko Haram? Those are the challenges we give back to them."
104 of the 110 schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram in Dapchi on February 19, 2018 were released by the terrorist group on Wednesday, March 22, 2018, with five reported dead and one girl still in captivity for refusing to renounce her Christian faith and convert to Islam.
PDP described the release of the kidnapped girls as a scam staged for political purposes to serve as a spur for President Buhari's expected declaration to seek re-election in 2019.
No ransom paid for girls - FG
The Federal Government has categorically denied reports that it paid a ransom to Boko Haram to secure the release of the girls.
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said the "unconditional" release of the girls was as a result of back-channel efforts achieved through "the help of some friends of the country".
Released schoolgirls moved to Abuja
After the 104 schoolgirls, alongside two other released hostages, were documented and profiled in Dapchi on Wednesday, they were transported to Borno State capital, Maiduguri, for onward movement to Abuja.
At the 105 Air Force Composite Command, Maiduguri yesterday, the Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Major General Rogers Nicholas, presented the released girls to a delegation of the Federal Government.
The delegation was led by Lai Mohammed, and included Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Khadija Bukar-Abba.
The released girls, alongside their parents and some aid workers, boarded a Nigerian Air Force aircraft to Abuja late on Wednesday.
Boko Haram militants invaded Government Girls Science and Technical Secondary School in Dapchi, Bursari local government area of Yobe on Monday, February 19, 2018, and abducted 110 schoolgirls.
According to accounts by residents, the terrorists invaded the town around 7 pm in over 18 gun trucks mounted with high caliber weapons.
The abduction was a repeat of another Boko Haram attack that happened when militants invaded Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok and kidnapped 276 female students in April 2014.
After several escapes and releases, 112 of the girls remain in captivity of the deadly terrorist group.